Female journalist assaulted sexually by white men in Cologne, Germany


This video says about itself:

Esmeralda Labye TV reporter is sexually assaulted live on air during Cologne festival

5 February 2016

Female reporter is sexually assaulted live on camera during Cologne festival as she reports on how the event has been overshadowed by New Year’s Eve rapes

From teleSUR:

Belgian Reporter Sexually Assaulted by 3 White Men in Cologne

The incident took place while the journalist was doing a live broadcast from the Cologne Carnival, asserting that the attackers were German.

A female journalist was sexually assaulted on live TV Friday in the German city of Cologne as she was reporting on the carnival celebrations in the city for the Belgian station RTBF.

Esmeralda Labye was on camera when a man reached over and grabbed her breast in the middle of a live broadcast. Commenting on the incident in an article she wrote, Labye said she had started the broadcast when “two or three men gathered behind me and tried to make themselves the center of attention,” the Belgian reporter wrote Friday in an article posted on the RTBF online.

“I didn’t see them as I was focusing on the broadcast. Then I felt a kiss on my neck … almost immediately after I heard someone saying ‘do you want to sleep with me’ and some hands on my shoulders.”

She added that as she was about to finish the broadcast, “one of the men leaned over and touched my breast. At that moment I lost my temper and, knowing we were no longer live, I turned around and warned him, do not touch me again.”

Labye said she reported the incident to the police and had received “an apology from the city shortly after.”

In the light of hundreds of sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve in the city of Cologne that were allegedly carried out by men of “Arab or North African origin” in the city, more than 2,000 uniformed police were patrolling the streets at the carnival in a bid to crackdown on potential sex crimes.

The organizers of the carnival also issued leaflets last week that included instructions for refugees and migrants in the city about sexual consent, kissing and urinating in public.

However, Labye told the London-based Daily Mail that she knew her attackers were German, stressing that she lived in an ethnically mixed district of Brussels where she had never experienced any problems with men from immigrant backgrounds.

“I have worked in Afghanistan and North Africa too, and nothing untoward ever happened to me as a white, female journalist,” she said Friday after the news of the attack. “I don’t think there should be any no-go areas for women journalists. We should be able to work anywhere, without being humiliated.”

Furthermore, Cologne police said they are now investigating the incident and 22 other sexual assaults which were reported on the first evening of the carnival. Also, at least 181 people were arrested on Friday for different charges including sexual harassment.

Authorities have described those being held as a “cross-section” of the population.

As long-time reporter Labye said, the news shows that sexual harassment against women is a problem that goes beyond racial stereotypes and extends to all nationalities and ethnicities.

Will there now be a ban for all white men at swimming pools in Cologne and elsewhere in Germany? As happened to male refugees at at least one swimming pool in Germany because of crimes against women, mainly by non-refugees, in Cologne on New Year’s Eve?

US Republican Trump advocates waterboarding and even worse torture


Donald Trump on torture

On top of this blog post is a quote about torture by Donald Trump, one of the United States Republican party presidential election candidates, during an election debate in New Hampshire yesterday.

Another Republican candidate, George W Bush’s little brother Jeb Bush, had already said that his older brother’s waterboarding torture was OK. In yesterday’s New Hampshire debate, candidate Ted Cruz agreed with that.

So did Donald Trump, like he had done before; adding in New Hampshire: “I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” What exactly did Trump refer to? Under George W Bush, there was lots of torture, like sexual torture and rectal feeding, “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding“. Did Trump refer to these forms of torture, as practiced by the CIA and others in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere? These forms of torture, along with torture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, staunch allies of the Washington political establishment, became the main inspiration for torture by the ISIS terrorists.

Or does candidate Trump want to bring back even earlier times? The times of the 1692 Salem witch trials in what is now Massachusetts state in the USA?

Then, 81-year-old farmer Giles Corey, accused of witchcraft, was stripped naked; then, a heavy board was laid on top of him; then, the torturers put more and more heavy stones on his stomach and chest. Until Giles Corey died after two days of this torture.

Donald Trump’s son claims waterboarding ‘no different to what happens in college frat houses’. Like father like son: here.

Marco Rubio: I would tell rape victim ‘it’s a terrible situation’ but have the rapist’s baby anyway: here.

‘Dutch warplanes kill terrorists … oops, civilians in Iraq’


This video from the USA says about itself:

20 November 2015

A U.S. air strike that targeted an Islamic State checkpoint in Iraq in March likely killed four civilians, one of whom may have been a child. Air Forces Central Command began investigating the March 13 air strike by an A-10 tank-killer jet near al Hatra, Iraq, on April 20 after an Iraqi citizen reported that her car had been destroyed and its passengers killed. The US military while rarely acknowledging civilian casualities has recently began investigating several dozen strikes in which civilians were reported killed. In May, it concluded two children had been killed in an air strike in Syria in November 2014.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Possibly civilian deaths in Iraq by Dutch F-16s

Today, 00:37

In Iraq bombing by Dutch F-16s has possibly caused civilian casualties. This is evident from the answers to questions in parliament by the government. The reason for those questions was the decision to extend the bombing of ISIS into Syria.

The Netherlands has so far fired precision weapons 1300 times in Iraq.

So ‘precise’ that they kill civilians, like other armed forces’ ‘precision’ weapons do.

There is an investigation of two cases where civilians may have died. The Ministry of Defence does research, and has also informed the Public Prosecution Service.

For operational reasons, no details are released about the individual studies. Parliament will be informed after the examination.

Syria

The government last week took the decision to also bomb ISIS targets in Syria. The Netherlands is thus responding to a request from the United States Secretary of Defense.

German pro-refugee activists attacked


This video says about itself:

One woman’s strength is helping refugees in Macedonia

“I’m doing this because I have never seen so many people on the street. No one is helping them.”

The smiling face that greets refugees when they get to the Greece-Macedonia border is that of Gabriela Andreevska. She welcomes them, feeds them, and sends them on their way to the EU feeling like human beings.

Filmed by Matthew Cassel.

By Verena Nees in Germany:

Pro-refugee organisation comes under political attack in Germany

6 February 2016

The Berlin-based refugee support organisation Moabit Hilft (Moabit Helps) has recently come under strong media criticism. In the course of the past 10 days the organisation has received threats of murder in hate mail and by telephone.

An online group calling itself “Moabit Lies” has become active,” backed by the well-known Berlin neo-Nazi Gregor Stein. It has accused Moabit Helps of dishonestly using donations. On Monday, the door of its office on the grounds of the Berlin state office for health and social care (Lageso) was kicked down. The media has also joined in the attacks on Moabit Helps.

The immediate pretext was an incident last week. A volunteer assisting refugees who was part of the circle around Moabit Helps claimed on Facebook that he had assisted a young Syrian who had been forced to wait in line at Lageso for days. The volunteer alleged the Syrian had caught a high fever and frostbite, and died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

But later that day, the author of the message, Dirk V., admitted to police he had made the story up. Diana Henniges, a Moabit Helps spokeswoman, said they had made a mistake in not reviewing the Facebook message more closely. However, “every volunteer, every politician and every press representative” had been able to imagine the death of a refugee. “This is the real tragedy”, she said. “It could have been possible.”

Dirk V. stated he had been pushed to the breaking point by the back-breaking work of providing assistance and wanted to use the story to “shake things up and change something.” In fact, Dirk V. had just been released from a long stay in hospital due to burnout, according to Reyna B., another volunteer who chatted with him during the night.

Reyna B. also did not initially doubt the veracity of the report of a fatality.

“For six months, we residents have watched what has happened”, she wrote in shock after Dirk’s final message. “For six months we have assisted, rushed around cared, fed, provided, healed … and we have repeatedly said, there will be deaths if this continues. And it is downplayed, sugar coated and dismissed. It is being presented as if this is normal, just a minor administrative crisis … ”

She referred to miscarriages, the case of the young refugee boy who was kidnapped in the chaos at Lageso last summer and murdered, several resuscitations on the Lageso grounds following heart attacks, diabetes shocks, all-night ambulance deployments to assist collapsed individuals, and the hunger endured by refugees when Lageso refused to pay out pocket money. She wrote, “Last Friday, I cried on the way home for the first time. Until then, the hope that this city, this country, would hear the humanitarian call had not been broken.”

Politicians and the media have used the incident to launch a cynical propaganda campaign against Moabit Helps. It is aimed not only at intimidating this organisation, but all volunteers assisting refugees. It also opens the door for right-wing hate mail, as Henniges told the WSWS. “Cologne was the starting gun. But the report of a dead refugee has released the genie from the bottle.”

Media representatives, who went to Lageso in the morning after the report with large camera teams to sensationalise the death of a refugee, are now targeting Moabit Helps. They are accusing an organisation of volunteers, most of whom work for free and without whose efforts the provision of care to refugees would have long since collapsed, of being “unprofessional”, “haughty” and “starry-eyed.”

A report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung from January 29 was especially repugnant. Under the headline “The haughtiness of the helpers”, it stated, “Many still feel the exhilaration of the summer days, when anyone who brought a case of mineral water to the Lageso felt they were better than the Berlin administration, leading to haughtiness. Several helpers have been cultivating an exaggerated image of themselves ever since, which they would never concede to a professional politician.”

The FAZ based itself on the statement of a Berlin Green Party politician, Bettina Jarasch, who described the work of the volunteers as basically “self-fulfillment”.

In a piece headlined “How to make propaganda with a lie”, N-TV wrote that the problem was not the author of the false report, but rather “an association like ‘Moabit Helps’, which did not even check the story before using it as a pretext to score points.”

The Berlin Senate exploited the incident for its own ends. On the following day, it quickly signed off on a plan to create a refugee ghetto on the grounds of the former Tempelhof airport.

Interior Senator Frank Henkl (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) called for legal consequences for Dirk V., fully aware that simply posting a false message online is not a criminal offence. He threatened the spokespeople at Moabit Helps, stating, “Whoever triggers and spreads such rumours without checking them is deliberately trying to poison the atmosphere in our city.”

Responding to the call for “professionalisation”, Diana Henniges said, “Only because we neglected a trifle and did not check the message? We were forced out of bed in the early hours of the morning and press representatives demanded statements by telephone. Where were these parties and media representatives six months ago, when the people at Lageso were starving, having to stand in line day and night and sleep on the ground? Nobody was talking about professionalism then. Without us, without the many people who assisted without pay in their free time, we would have a worse situation today, the probability of deaths would be much higher.”

Moabit Helps was formed by residents in the longstanding Berlin working class district of Moabit at the beginning of the refugee crisis and became a role model for many other volunteer initiatives across the city. It plays a leading part in the strong solidarity towards refugees in the Berlin population, which has not diminished in the wake of the New Year’s Eve events in Cologne. They have repeatedly criticised the terrible conditions at Lageso and in the mass accommodation centres, and organised protests against them. Based on their information, 40 lawyers filed charges against those responsible in the Senate for violations of law at Lageso.

The Berlin Senate had recently come under criticism from the establishment. The pictures of people lined up at Lageso and overcrowded accommodation centres are inopportune for the capital city. If the report of the fatality of the Syrian refugee had been true, some journalists speculate, the Senate and Social Affairs Senator Mario Czaja could well have been brought down.

It is no wonder that Moabit Helps has long been a thorn in the side of the city’s political elite. For workers and young people in the city and beyond, the attack on the organisation is a warning sign. The stepped-up attacks on refugees are increasingly also directed against the general population that has spontaneously come to the aid of refugees and who, like them, oppose war and poverty.

Thousands of people attended demonstrations across Australia on Thursday, opposing Wednesday’s High Court ruling sanctioning the bipartisan government-Labor Party regime of indefinitely detaining refugees in virtual concentration camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island: here.

Saudi invasion of Syria?


This 5 September 2015 video is called What Can You Be Publicly Executed For In Saudi Arabia?

As if Saudi governmental violence against their own pro-democracy people, in Bahrain and in Yemen is not already enough …

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Threat of wider war looms as Saudi monarchy proposes Syria intervention

6 February 2016

The Saudi Arabian monarchy Thursday declared that it is prepared to send ground troops into Syria under the pretext of prosecuting the US-declared war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The proposal from Riyadh follows the breakdown of Geneva III, the UN-mediated peace talks between the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and a Saudi-sponsored “rebel” negotiating committee consisting of Islamist militia leaders and exile politicians aligned with Western intelligence agencies.

The talks were suspended Wednesday after the opposition refused to negotiate under conditions in which Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air strikes, have registered major gains on the battlefield, threatening to reverse the territorial gains won by the Western-backed militias in recent years.

Syrian government forces, supported by pro-government militias, including elements of the Lebanese Hezbollah, have succeeded in breaking a siege of two predominantly Shia villages, Nubl and Zahra, which for nearly four years had held out against the threat of a sectarian massacre at the hands of Al Qaeda-linked forces backed by Washington and its regional allies.

The advance has succeeded in reversing the tide of battle around Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, breaking the siege of the government-held western part of the city at the hands of the opposition, while imposing a siege on the eastern part, which has been under its control. The victories in the northern countryside have effectively cut off the supply line that has brought arms and ammunition to the Western-backed militias from Turkey.

Syrian government forces have also registered significant advances in Latakia Province in the northwest as well as in Daraa in the south.

These developments have led to calls by Washington and its allies for an immediate halt to the Russian bombing campaign initiated at the end of last September, which US and allied officials have blamed for the breakdown of the talks in Geneva.

“We have seen that the intense Russian air strikes mainly targeting opposition groups in Syria are undermining the efforts to find a political solution to the conflict,” Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the US-led NATO military alliance said Friday. Like his counterparts in Washington, Stoltenberg fails to name the “opposition groups” about which he is concerned, because the leading one is the Al Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.

The fear of the “rebels” and their Western patrons is that the Russian-backed advances of Syrian government forces will make it impossible to achieve by means of negotiations what they are unable to procure on the battlefield: the toppling of Assad and the imposition of a more pliant US puppet regime.

The stepped-up military operations in and around Aleppo have sent a stream of refugees heading toward the Turkish border, less than 40 miles to the north. The Turkish government, however, has closed the border crossings. At the Oncupinar border crossing near the Turkish city of Kilis, one Syrian woman was reportedly shot and killed by Turkish security forces.

Ankara’s evident aim is to create a humanitarian crisis on the border, providing a pretext for military intervention.

Moscow has charged that Turkey is engaged in active preparations for an invasion of Syria. “We have serious grounds to suspect Turkey is in intensive preparations for an armed invasion of the territory of a sovereign state—the Syrian Arab Republic,” the Russian defense ministry said in a statement, Thursday.

The defense ministry reported that Turkey had denied permission for a Russian reconnaissance plane to fly over the Turkish-Syrian border, but that it had already detected “more and more signs of covert preparations by the Turkish armed forces for active action on Syrian territory.” These included the deployment of troops and military equipment and the paving of parking lots on both sides of the border for heavy trucks and equipment.

The Saudi offer to send ground troops into Syria has undoubtedly been made in conjunction with the Turkish buildup. The Saudi monarchy and Turkey’s government recently set up a military coordination body.

“The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition [against ISIS] may agree to carry out in Syria,” Saudi military spokesman brigadier general Ahmed al-Asiri said on Thursday, touting the Saudi army’s “experience in Yemen,” which has consisted largely of the slaughter of Yemeni civilians in airstrikes.

For its part, the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is determined to prevent the consolidation of an autonomous Syrian Kurdish zone on its border.

The inseparable connection between military aggression abroad and police state repression at home found expression in Turkey Friday with the presentation of a criminal indictment against two journalists, Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, on charges of “espionage,” “attempting to topple the government” and support for terrorism. The two are being prosecuted for the publication by their newspaper, Cumhuriyet, of an article exposing the use of trucks of the National Intelligence Agency to ship arms across the border to ISIS. Turkish police officers who intercepted some of the trucks have been similarly charged. The defendants could face life sentences.

“That kind of news is very welcome,” US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in response to the Saudi offer, adding that he intended to discuss it with his Saudi counterpart in Brussels next week.

An intervention by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, two of the principal patrons of the Islamist militias in Syria, would signal a major escalation of the crisis and a desperate bid by US imperialism itself to salvage the nearly five-year-old war for regime change in Syria.

It would dramatically increase the dangers of the Syrian conflict spiraling out of control into a full-scale regional war, pitting Saudi Arabia and Turkey against Iran. Any such intervention would be carried out in collaboration with Washington, which is Turkey’s NATO ally, posing the threat of a direct confrontation between the US and Russia, the world’s two major nuclear powers.